The wildlife reserve is coming back from a difficult year

ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WITN) – Sniffles and screams were the sounds that marked a new beginning for Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Onslow County as they officially reopened on Sunday.

“We’re trying to allow people who love animals to have a place to express that love and to be able to do things for them,” said sanctuary director Toni O’Neil. “Or just being able to support them financially knowing that there is a place that is going to continue to be here forever.”

The sanctuary has faced many challenges over the past year, including hurricane damage and loss of fundraising and volunteer opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently renovated, O’Neil said he has the opportunity to teach the North Carolina wildlife community while caring for those injured and in need of rehabilitation.

“We have a lot of babies and people think they can raise themselves or raise birds of prey,” said volunteer Andrew Baughman. “They think they can keep his pets, but unfortunately it’s not better for the animal. They need care in order to be released into the wild.

Care that Baughman is familiar with, as with possums.

“You can’t really release a possum with more than half of its tail missing,” Baughman said. “They don’t use it to hang like you see in the movies. They use it for balance and collecting nesting material.

Several of the shrine’s tenants are education ambassadors, including a rabbit named Lorette, which serves to educate the public about the dangers of raising rabbits.

“People keep a lot of rabbits and a lot of pets in general. Domestic rabbits cannot survive in the wild, ”Baughman said. “They’re supposed to be pets. The important thing with our Education Ambassadors is to help educate the public about the wildlife of my North Carolina is so important to help conserve.

At 16, Baughman fearlessly assumes educational responsibility.

“Getting to know your loving nature in such a positive way, combating the negative effects of people, releasing them back into nature is very rewarding. If the animals weren’t there we wouldn’t be here so it’s very important for me to be able to do that as well, ”he said.

The fall fundraiser is the sanctuary’s largest source of community income. Over $ 4,500 in prizes have been drawn to generate funds for continuous improvements for the animals.

Guided tours are available daily at the shrine located at 119 Doe Dr. Hubert, NC 28539. You can find more information on how to visit or support Possumwood Acres. here.

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